Steve Rude has decided to make his return to comics. That's right. According to his latest "Daily Diatribe," Rude's less than happy with the current state of superhero storytelling and feels he can improve things by making a direct contribution. Plus, there's a certain economic necessity. Whatever the reasons, the Dude thought it over, discussed it with his wife and decided to contact the company that most appealed to him, to see if he could do something "high profile" with certain characters.
That company would be DC Comics. The characters-- in order of preference-- are Supergirl, Superman, Big Barda and her Female Furies and OMAC. Rude contacted an editor, got no response. Talked to some executives and another editor. One response. Rude characterizes it as a "polite turn down." I can't imagine why DC would turn down an artist of Steve Rude's caliber. Maybe his proposals didn't fit with their ongoing plans or business model. Maybe his kind of traditional technique-heavy aesthetic is too far out of fashion with the "edgy" crowd-- if the books I bought this past week are any indication, the fans seem to like scratchy-looking artwork. Markets change. I do know he was hoping to do some work on another Wednesday Comics series, but that hasn't panned out so far either. I just think it's sad the Dude-- of all artists-- didn't get so much as a peep of interest from DC about working on characters he seems born to draw.
Here's what I offered: Just a thought-- this past week, I picked up IDW's new The Rocketeer book with art by Mike Allred, John Cassaday and Mike Kaluta. Unfortunately, it's a 4-issue mini so I'm guessing all the art and stories are already in the can. The Dude would've rocked on that. But they must have some upcoming projects where the Dude can make a big splash. Maybe not as big as on Superman or Supergirl-- and a Big Barda story would be too perfect-- but they do seem to be a company that's putting out some intriguing books with some artists Rude's kind of simpatico with as far as aesthetics go.
In another comment I mentioned Dark Horse, but I'm not sure they're in a financial position to do anything with Rude. Plus, he's been there before and the Nexus books he and Mike Baron did for them in the 1990s were more a critical than a sales success. Maybe Dark Horse is more comfortable with the Nexus archives books these days. After all, they've put out a ton of Rude's classic sequential work in that series. Still-- Steve Rude on a Star Wars book? A Hellboy one-shot with Mike Mignola? The new Creepy book (if it's still being published)?
So there you have it. I'm holding out hope some editor at Dark Horse, IDW or even Image-- which seem to be companies that let creators do what they do best without a whole lot of multimedia corporate narrative flak and bother-- will give Rude a call and see what happens. Of course, if he's determined his return to comics is contingent only on his being able to work for DC on these particular characters and no one else, then my suggestions are useless. But if he's just fishing to see what's biting, then someone has to make this happen. The guy is a legend, for the love of Kirby!